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updated 12/30/2011 6:48:27 PM ET 2011-12-30T23:48:27

Every year, dozens of weird new stories and surprising scientific findings grab headlines across the world. From clouds that looked like Abraham Lincoln to doomsday predictions to research on the psychological roots of alien abductions, 2011 didn't disappoint. Here, a sampling of the weirdest stories of the year:

Eagle-eyed users of Google Maps spotted several giant, mysterious structures laid out throughout China. Mystery solved: They're calibration targets for spy satellites.

 A YouTube enthusiast spotted a planet-size UFO near Mercury ; that one turned out to be an imaging artifact.

Yeti researchers claimed they found " indisputable proof " of the mysterious beast in Russia. Months later, a supposed yeti finger was subjected to DNA analysis and found to be of human origin.

A coroner in Ireland declared a man died of spontaneous human combustion. Meanwhile, a crematorium in England unveiled its plans to convert heat from burning corpses into electricity. Perhaps alarmed by this, a 50-year-old "dead" man woke up after 24 hours in a morgue.

For unknown reasons, 2011 saw a rash of reports of Serbian children who were, supposedly, magnetic.

Lots of funny stuff was spotted in the skies. A swarm of insects in Iowa formed what's known as a " bugnado," and clouds in Canada closely resembled Abraham Lincoln's profile.

A scientist in California conducted several studies that suggest alien abductions and visions of angels are, in fact, very vivid dreams.

Howard Camping, a radio evangelist, predicted, twice, that the world would come to an end in 2011. A spokesperson for Camping says he plans to make no doomsday predictions for 2012.

Dozens of bizarre Guinness World Records standards were set in 2011, but this one got the most double takes: The world's largest bra was unveiled in London. It was size 1222B. Oh, and the world's hairiest girl was crowned.

Scientists reported that, if you've lost your TV remote, there's a 49 percent chance it's wedged in between your couch cushions.

Fans celebrating a touchdown by Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch created a mini-earthquake.

Early in the year, art historians suggested that the woman portrayed in da Vinci's " Mona Lisa" might actually have been a dude. Mysteries abound about the most famous painting in the world, including the new claim that there are secret codes painted in her eyes.

Plenty of weird happenings also took place in the ocean.  A surfer was spotted riding a great white shark, a sea monster washed up along New York City's East River, and oceanographers discovered a "flying saucer" that crashed in the ocean.

And finally – disgustingly – racehorse owners in New Zealand were given permission to sell stallion semen as an energy drink. Drinking it will give you "as much zizz as a stallion for a week afterwards," one vendor claimed.

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